By Robert Longley
Meet Eleni Bakopoulos artist and owner of Gritt Gallery- studio and exhibition space.
Gritt Gallery is nestled in the heart of downtown Guelph and Eleni prefers it this way. Not only does Eleni have a passion for art but she has a passion for the downtown core. Gritt Gallery will endeavor to spark connections within the community through its various initiatives aimed at increasing visual literacy and art appreciation. These activities will include art classes, art consultation, portfolio reviews, workshops, and exhibitions.
Gritt Gallery, 121 Wynham St. N. Suite 203. Photo Credit Eleni Bakopoulos
“I love the idea of connecting with other artists at every stage, whether they are a sixteen year old, out of high school, or someone who never had the chance to pursue arts in their career and is now retired. The courses here are atelier style, designed to address any stage of your artistic career. You can pop in at any level and take a class, because they are skill based classes. You learn by looking, learning to look properly and studying other artists whether it is painting or drawing. People think they look but they don’t. By learning the skill of looking, it improves their art no matter what their objective is.”
Eleni Bakopoulos describes Gritt Gallery’s unique approach and focus on offering traditional skill-based classes.
“Traditional Ateliers consist of a master artist (painter, sculptor, photographer) working with a small number of people to train them in the visual or fine arts. Skill-based schools, most Ateliers train students to make representational art. Gritt Gallery’s unique Atelier focuses on in-depth training in the foundations of drawing and traditional oil glaze painting. Photographic workshops will explore and acknowledge photography’s impact on the fine arts as a whole. The exploration of photography, art history and contemporary critical thought ground this Atelier firmly in the 21st century. All courses are suited to beginners, yet experienced students will gain confidence the more classes they take. Classes are small and intimate, and students progress at their own pace in a relaxed atmosphere. Must be 16 years of age or older to register. Both day and night classes are offered.”
Oil Painting - Reproducing Masterwork. One of the Atelier style
classes offered by Gritt Gallery. Photo Credit Robert Longley
Eleni Bakopoulos has a history of achievement in the arts, among them an International Discovery award nomination at Les Rencontre d’arle Photography Festival in France and a Silver medal in photography for Team Canada at the V Games of La Francophonie in Niger. Her artwork has been featured in a number of solo exhibitions including the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Olympic Winter Games Cultural Centre in Turin, Italy, and the Rosella Junck Gallery in Guelph, Ontario in 2018.
Painting by Eleni Bakopoulos. Photo credit Robert Longley.
As the former Director of Gallery Connexion, an artist-run centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Eleni was recognized as leading the re-birth of the gallery within the community and ultimately accepted the arts organization of the year award in 2006. New projects include the launching of Eleni Bakopoulos Artworks and Gritt Gallery in Guelph in 2018.
Eleni works on her art full time, and her artwork is showcased in Gritt Gallery. In order to connect with the community and share her skills and passions with those around her, Eleni teaches art classes throughout the year, consults, mentors artists, and takes on limited photographic projects on an on-going basis.
The hope and vision for the arts in Guelph is a clear one. Up the hill at the University of Guelph, the arts program is a good one and the artists are wonderful, but Eleni hopes that artists in the city would connect more. She believes that all would benefit from conversation around art. What it takes to be an artist. It takes grit and guts. You need to have gumption, resilience, integrity, tenacity, and talent. All these things matter and we can help each other bring out these qualities when we work together.
To learn more about Gritt Gallery in Guelph please visit their website at www.grittgallery.com